WE-SPARK Health Institute 2020-21 Q2 Impact Report

Page 1

Year 2

Q2 Highlights

August 1, 2020 – October 31, 2020

Quarter 2 Highlights A thriving and engaged research community, driving advancements in health

Executive Committee Nicole Sbrocca (Chair)

Windsor Regional Hospital

Terra Cadeau

Hôtel Dieu Grace Healthcare

Caroline Hamm

Windsor Regional Hospital

Marla Jackson

Year 2 – Achieving More, Together Igniting Discovery, Living Better WE-SPARK was officially launched in March 2020. Despite being newly minted, the Institute has been gaining momentum for over a decade and brings together health research and healthcare strengths across our region to work toward a vision of a thriving and engaged community driving advancements in health. In our first year, we UNITED STRENGTHS across our region. The details of our progress from year 1 can be found in our Impact Report.

Hôtel Dieu Grace Healthcare

Heather Pratt

University of Windsor

Chad Sutherland

University of Windsor

Peter Wawrow

St. Clair College

Lisa Porter

WE-SPARK Health Institute

Karen Metcalfe

WE-SPARK Health Institute

In year two, we are focused on ACHIEVING MORE, TOGETHER. We are establishing pipelines to address pressing health issues, advancing discovery, innovation, technology and community resources. Training is at the heart of all that we do. We are promoting excellence among our health professionals and engaging and empowering our community. We are committed to providing equity, diversity, inclusivity, and support. We aim to inspire and drive change, achieve more and ignite discovery so our community lives better.

Lisa A. Porter, PhD, Executive Director Professor, University of Windsor

The WE-SPARK Team Lisa Porter, Executive Director Karen Metcalfe, Assistant Director Kyle Lago, Translational Research Associate Cathy Mombourquette, Communications Coordinator Marla Rivard, Administrative Assistant Ryan Palazzolo, Volunteer Network Coordinator Adriana Baggio, Knowledge Translation Research Associate Year 2 – Q2

Page 2



Organizational Effectiveness Build the effective organizational structures and systems we need to achieve our mission.


Year 2 Milestones a) Implement quarterly reporting and tracking mechanisms that leads to the yearly impact report b) Implement budget reporting system c) Facilitate a fundraising plan, including a partner MOU d) Develop MOUs between WE-SPARK institutions for communication and data sharing e) Implement Conflict of Interest policy for all committees



a) Implement quarterly reporting and tracking mechanisms September 29th marked our first Town Hall where fifty members gathered online to hear exciting highlights from year one, and areas of focus for the upcoming year.

d) Develop MOUs between WE-SPARK institutions for communication and data sharing Draft MOUs have been developed and are under final review by legal teams.

e) Implement a conflict of interest policy for all committees The WE-SPARK Conflict of Interest policy has been developed by the Governance Committee and will be rolled out for use to all committees in Q3.

Driving Organizational Effectiveness – Governance Committee Next Meeting: January 11, 2021 (committee meets quarterly) Lisa Porter (Chair), WE-SPARK Terra Cadeau, HDGH Heather Pratt, UW

Year 2 – Q2

Nicole Sbrocca, WRH Monica Tighe, SCC Karen Metcalfe, WE-SPARK

Page 4

Research Excellence Create a dynamic research environment that enables, supports and promotes excellence


Year 2 Milestones a) b) c) d) e) f) g) h)

Host events that build collaboration, grow teams and support professional development Host WE-SPARK Grant competitions Profile and track successes of Core Members Grow membership and consult and support WE-SPARK programs Provide a central hub for research processes and system navigation Address need for a regional Research Ethics Board (REB) Provide support for external peer review Develop an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) action plan

HIGHLIGHTS a) Host events that build collaboration, grow teams and support professional development Hosted a Think Tank Our virtual Think Tank series kicked off on October 9th. This forum allows people to ignite connections and mobilize new ideas. The speakers presented their research ideas, moved to break out rooms to discuss their ideas with participants and ended the afternoon with action items to move their ideas forward. Presenters were: Laura D’Alimonte, Windsor Regional Hospital; Hali Sitarz, St. Clair College; and Meaghan Wunder, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. A summary the event outcomes can be found on our website. The next Think Tank is scheduled for December 4th

Driving Research Excellence – Research Development Committee Next Meeting: November 27th (committee meets every 6 weeks) Caroline Hamm (co-chair), WRH Chris Abeare, UW Jody Ralph, UW Simon Rondeau-Gagne, UW Balraj Jhawar, WRH Year 2 – Q2

Ingrid Qemo (co-chair), UW Jennifer Voth, HDGH Peter Wawrow, SCC Lisa Porter, WE-SPARK Karen Metcalfe, WE-SPARK Page 5

Research Excellence b) WE-SPARK grant competitions Igniting Discovery Grant submissions are currently under review and awards will be announced in December 2020.

c) Profile and track successes of core members WE-SPARK Core Principal Member profiles can now be found on the WESPARK website. Members are interconnected through projects, programs and core facilities to demonstrate how we all work together to advance health research. Our next step is to work with our members to refine and grow their profile pages and add Core Associate members to our website. Local physicians and healthcare providers need academic appointments to build their research programs. In Q2, WE-SPARK facilitated 8 Clinical Assistant Professor Appointments in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Windsor for the following members: • • • • • • • •

Elashaal Abdurrahim, Neurosurgery, Windsor Regional Hospital Sajit Augustine, Neonatology, Windsor Regional Hospital David Cervi, Paediatrics, Windsor Regional Hospital Kitty Huang, Radiation Oncology, Windsor Regional Hospital Sindu Kanjeekal, Medical Oncology, Windsor Regional Hospital Swati Kulkarni, Medical Oncology, Windsor Regional Hospital Ming Pan, Radiation Oncology, Windsor Regional Hospital Indryas Woldie, Medical Oncology, Windsor Regional Hospital

Year 2 – Q2

Page 6

Research Excellence d) Grow membership and consult and support WE-SPARK programs Since inception our membership continues to grow. Quarter two has seen an increase in membership from 229 (Q1) to 353. Core membership has grown from 88 to 101 (20 Principal Core Members and 81 Core Associate members). We have begun to consult with WE-SPARK programs and build their website profile pages. As a highlight, WCRG prepares for the 5th biennial cancer research conference which will be hosted online in November.

e) Provide a central hub for research processes and system navigation Navigating research can be a time-consuming task at any institution. When conducting research across organizations, the complexity seems that much more overwhelming. WE-SPARK Health Institute is the central hub for health research across our partner organizations. Tools have been developed to help with grant success, research ethics boards, fresh tissue trials and applying for adjunct status. Kyle Lago, full-time WE-SPARK Translational Research Assistant works to help members navigate this space. Noteworthy from Q2 is the uptake of the Research Registry and the creation of a research request portal with Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) that will be launched in Q3.

Research Registry Expanding WE-SPARK Research Registry highlights local recruiting studies conducted by WE-SPARK researchers. Local researchers can submit their studies to have them listed on the WE-SPARK website. People in the community who are interested in participating in health research can find studies they may be eligible for. In Q2, 5 studies were included on the registry. In Q3, a new centralized intake will be available on the website.

f) Address need for a Regional Research Ethics Board (REB) Suzanne McMurphy, Chair, Research Ethics Board, University of Windsor is collaborating with WESPARK to streamline REB processes. Abrahim Abduelmula, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry has been awarded a REB Fellowship supported by the Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, University of Windsor to conduct a stakeholder consultation and CITI training needs assessment.

h) Develop an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) action plan On November 1st, Aleksandra Redko will begin as WE-SPARK’s EDI Intern as part of her practicum placement as a Graduate Student in Psychology at the University of Windsor.

Year 2 – Q2

Page 7


Community Engagement Enhance understanding and build trust with the community

Year 2 Milestones a) Launch an Ask the Expert series to support the health-related questions of our community b) Increase engagement on all social media platforms c) Broaden community understanding of WE-SPARK through media relations, our community newsletter and speaking engagements d) Continue to evolve our website capabilities and reach

HIGHLIGHTS a) Launch an Ask the Experts series to support the health-related questions in our community The Community Engagement Committee has developed a plan that will showcase 1 Ask the Expert highlight per month. A dedicated area on the website will house all Ask the Expert information and will be shared through social media and WE-SPARK newsletters.

b) Increase engagement on all social media platforms A social media plan has been developed and approved by the Community Engagement Committee that will provide direction for active and consistent engagement, and allow for an efficient process that we can measure, report on and continuously approve. In Q3, the plan will be officially rolled out.


Driving Community Understanding - Community Engagement Committee Next Meeting: November 18, 2020 (committee meets every 6 weeks) Marla Jackson (Co-Chair), HDGH Dora Cavallo-Medved, UWindsor Allison Johnson, WRH

Year 2 – Q2

Chad Sutherland (Co-Chair), UWindsor Roseann Danese, SCC Cathy Mombourquette, WE-SPARK Karen Metcalfe, WE-SPARK

Page 8

Community Engagement c) Broaden community understanding of WE-SPARK through media relations, our community newsletter and speaking engagements Media Releases: WE-SPARK Health Institute Seeking Applicants for $180,000 Grant Program WE-SPARK Health Institute Releases First Impact Report Researchers and Healthcare Leaders Pair Up for COVID Conversations Community Organization Reaches 25,000 Milestone in Hand-Made Masks and Caps for Windsor-Essex Local Research Team Publishes Findings on Acute Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Children’s Mental Health in Southwestern Ontario

Select Featured Media Stories: In Quarter 2, WE-SPARK was part of 18 Mainstream news stories, 21 stories in partner newsletters and 4 other local/provincial coverage. CBC: Why do some cities deal with COVID better? Windsor Star: U of W researchers developing microchip device to detect COVID-19 OurWindsor.ca: Windsor-Essex Sewing Force reaches 25,000 masks made for residents Windsor Star: Windsor group lands $50K grant to develop low-cost ventilator CTV: Local healthcare workers asked to complete survey about mental health during pandemic

Speaking Engagements To broaden the community understanding of WE-SPARK, the Executive Director delivered a keynote address at the Medhealth Mixer and our staff were invited to be guest speakers at 2 local events.

Community Newsletter Distribution Schedule May 25, 2020 September 21, 2020 January 18, 2021

d) Evolve our website capabilities and reach Website Analytics WESPARKHEALTH . COM

Total Q2 Visits: 5,820 Unique Q2 Visits: 3,144 Most Visited Pages in Q2: Homepage, Conferences/Workshops, WE-SPARK Grants, Research Registry

Top Site Visitors


Year 2 – Q2




Page 9

Knowledge Translation Translate research information to inspire and drive change


Year 2 Milestones a) b) c) d)

Develop a student research network and launch an education series to support student research Support novel training opportunities in health research Create, implement and maintain a Health Research Resource Hub Develop an online Knowledge Translation Toolkit for our research community

HIGHLIGHTS a) Develop a student research network and launch an education series to support student research Student Volunteer Network Ryan Palazzolo, WE-SPARK’s Volunteer Network Coordinator is working with Tejas Shinde, St. Clair College and Vanessa Montemurri, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry to create a Student Volunteer Network. In the past 2 months, significant progress has been made:

Conducted a Scan Completed a literature review and comparison of over 10 volunteer models

Created an application Process Developed and pilot tested an application process with 16 students. Revised and finalized based on feedback

Developed volunteer orientation Prepared and scheduled a 1 hour, virtual orientation session for November 5th

Next steps Finalize the model, obtain approval from the Knowledge Translation committee and implement with mechanisms in place for tracking metrics

Driving Knowledge Translation – Knowledge Translation Committee Next Meeting: December 2, 2020 (committee meets every 6 weeks) Pete Wawrow (Co-Chair), SCC Dave Andrews, UW Linda DiRosa, HDGH Jody Ralph, UW

Year 2 – Q2

Dora Cavallo-Medved (Co-Chair), UW Indryas Woldie, WRH Lisa Porter, WE-SPARK Karen Metcalfe, WE-SPARK

Page 10

Knowledge Translation c) Create, implement and maintain a Health Research Resource Hub Created and Executed COVID Conversations with a Community Perspective Series In addition to the resources available on the website resource hub are the events that support translating research information to our community. Over the month of September, two WE-SPARK Igniting Discovery Grant recipients and one NSERC Grant holder were part of an engaging series that paired healthcare executives with researchers to discuss environmental monitoring, screening and detection and the health and wellbeing of nurses in a border city. Speakers included: Adam Dukelow, Jan Kaffer, Mike McKay, Dana Menard, David Musyj and Simon Rondeau-Gagne.

d) Develop an online knowledge translation toolkit for our research community Create, Test and Implement a Knowledge Translation Toolkit The WE-SPARK Knowledge Translation (KT) Cycle and Toolkit has been launched on our website. These tools are continuously being tested and revised and new tools being added. In response to requests from members, a series of KT workshops is being launched in January, 2021.

Member Newsletter Distribution Schedule June 23, 2020 December 21, 2020 August 17, 2020 February 22, 2021 October 26, 2020 April 19, 2021 Year 2 – Q2

Page 11


Build Capacity Secure the resources needed to achieve our mission

Year 2 Milestones a) b) c) d)

Launch and expand use of data sharing platforms for our researchers Facilitate joint funding plan for large infrastructure grants Coordinate infrastructure planning Initiate discussion on capital plan

HIGHLIGHTS a) Launch and expand use of data sharing platforms for our researchers With the number of collaborative, cross-institutional research projects growing, we recognize the need to have shared tools available to all health research stakeholders to enhance collaboration and reduce redundant systems. WE-SPARK Health Institute, with support provided by UWindsor IT services and ORIS, has acquired REDCap software through a fully executed licensing agreement to allow our researchers to collect and store de-identified data with each other seamlessly. It can single-handedly solve the issue of multi-site research data acquisition/sharing. The pilot phase is almost complete and data sharing agreements are being finalized. In Q2, REDCap was used by research teams for funded projects, operational support and quality improvement.

c) Coordinate Infrastructure Planning – NUCLEUS Working Group Meets 4 times per year. Adriana was recently hired to coordinate NUCLEUS expansion and support the working group to prepare for future infrastructure funding calls. Otis Vacratsis, UW Anthony Bain, UW Jody Ralph, UW Kristoffer Romero, UW

Year 2 – Q2

Krista Naccarato, WRH Linda MacDougall, SCC Pete Wawrow, SCC Kyle Lago, WE-SPARK Adriana Baggio, WE-SPARK Page 12

Looking Forward Igniting Discovery, Achieving More, Living Better

Reporting Timeline


Below are a few action items you can expect to see in Q3.

Organizational Effectiveness • • •

Finalize MOUs between WE-SPARK partners for communication and data sharing Implement Conflict of Interest Policy for all committees Facilitate a fundraising plan, including a partner MOU

Research Excellence • • • • •

Consult with, support and grow WE-SPARK programs Create an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan Grow the central hub for research processes and system navigation Announce Igniting Discovery Grant Recipients Consult with partners regarding a regional Biomedical Ethics Review Board

Knowledge Translation


• • •

Grow the on-line KT toolkit Launch the WE-SPARK student volunteer network Expand Health Research Resource Hub

Community Engagement • • • •

Distribute Community Connector Newsletter (Jan.18, 2021) Roll out a monthly Ask the Experts series Implement the WE-SPARK social media plan Evaluate and evolve website capabilities

Build Capacity •

Launch REDCap training workshops for researchers and student volunteer network


Page 13

Appendix: Year 2 Budget May 1, 2020 – April 30, 2021 ADMINISTRATION Salaries • Research Director Stipend/Teaching Release • Assistant Director Salary • Translational Research Associate • Comms & Events Coordinator – PT • Administrative Assistant - Full Time • Nucleus manager + Medical Student Research Coordinator + Knowledge Translation Research Coordinator + Knowledge Translation Internship (partial grant) Discretionary (exec meetings, office equipment, printing, etc) Marketing & Website (including dissemination) Research Education & Outreach - Cross Institution Education Program Development Infrastructure and Operating Grant Supports (Year 2) WE-Spark Grant Competitions TOTAL Operating Revenue (Partner Contributions) University of Windsor Windsor Regional Hospital Hotel-Dieu Grace St Clair TOTAL

Year 2 – Q2

Proposed 2020-2021 BUDGET $320,000

$25,000 $30,000 $10,000 $15,000 $100,000 $500,000

$200,000 $100,000 $100,000 $100,000 $500,000

Page 14